Man swept away in Covington flood - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Man swept away in Covington flood

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Benton Road in Covington is super-steep and was the scene of one man's terrifying trip downhill, as he was caught in a torrent of flash flooding. And it was all captured on a construction worker's cell phone.

This is all part of a 4 to 5 mile area in Covington that was hit hard Tuesday by more than five inches of rain.

Right now, people are still pulling all kinds of waterlogged stuff out of their rain-soaked basements. And for the one man who got swept away, it is an afternoon he'd soon forget.

Michael Nease lost his car in heavy water at the bottom of Benton Road.

"He had just enough forward motion to float forward til his tires could grip the ground again," said his friend, Michael Warden.

Nease, then tried trudging up the hill to get to his buddy's place.

"He said it looked just like a white water rapid," Warden said. But then the worst happened.

"He was terrified," Warden said.

Stephen Thomas, was stuck in the storm in his construction truck and caught it all on his cell phone. You can hear his crew shouting as they watch Nease grab onto a street sign, let go and then get swept downhill in raging floodwaters.

"The current was too strong and just kind of took him down," said Thomas, of Rack & Ballauer Excavating.

"It actually swept him off his feet and carried him all the way down to the bottom of the hill," Warden said. "He was beat up pretty bad."

But Warden said he is ok now, except for wrenching his back a bit and having dozens of scrapes and bruises.

"It came down so heavy it actually pushed the gates open on the sediment ponds," said Derrick Klotter, with Rack & Ballauer Excavating, as he pointed out one of three retention ponds along Benton Road in photographs.

"There's the upper retention pond running over," he said. The ponds were unable to contain the tidal wave of water.

"Here's some of the damage to our pipe," Klotter said. "It washed the ditch completely out."

The storm not only filled a lot of basements, but also wrecked a lot of hard work to a massive sidewalk replacement project along Benton Road.

"Yeah," Klotter said. "We had to basically just start over."

The new sidewalks are gone and the pavement is buckled in large portions of the road. A sinkhole was no problem for the oversized tires of a backhoe, but when reporter Stefano stepped-in to check the size, it came-up nearly to the back of his knees.

"Water Works sent three crews up to help us and we got all the concrete out of the ditch and had sand and gravel brought in late," Klotter said. We didn't get done til about 11 o'clock Tuesday night."

No clue yet what it has cost their company. Could we see a repeat with the next storm?

"Well that was a 1 in 100-years event," said Jeffrey Eger, General Manager with SD1. "Now that doesn't mean that it couldn't happen again, but that's like me winning the lottery tonight, it's probably not gonna happen either."

SD1 is the regional manager of the sanitary, sewage and storm water systems for most of northern Kentucky.

"We try to encourage folks all the time to add a back-up insurance rider on their homeowners insurance," Eger said. "You can get those policies for about 25 to 50 dollars a year. They all offer it but you gotta ask for it."

That insurance rider would give you the kind of protection you'd need if this kind of freak weather event ever happened again.

SD1 is encouraging their customers to download their claim form. Just go to www.sd1.org and click on the "EVENTS" link. There is a statement about the weather event from July 13th, and a separate link you can click on to fill out a claim form.

We also have a link to this in the Big Red Box on our homepage at FOX19.com.

SD1 is going to scope out the storm drains using a camera. They are not making any promises, but Eger said, if they discover there was a flow problem on their end, then affected customers may have a claim. 

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